Report of the Secretary-General on South Sudan (covering the period from 2 June to 1 September 2017) (S/2017/784) [EN/AR]
1. The present report is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 2327 (2016), by which the Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) until 15 December 2017 and requested me to report on the implementation of the mandate every 90 days. It covers political and security developments from 2 June to 1 September 2017, the humanitarian situation, and progress in the implementation of the Mission mandate. It also provides a review of progress made by the parties in ceasing hostilities, returning to the path of dialogue and achieving inclusiveness within the Government.
II. Political and economic developments
2. There has been minimal progress in the implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (the peace agreement). The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has been leading efforts to hold a high-level revitalization forum in what it sees as a final attempt to bring the peace process back on track. Meanwhile, various other initiatives are now under way which are also aimed at finding a political solution to the conflict, including the national dialogue and an initiative by the President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, to reunify factions of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).
3. To date, however, these initiatives have yet to show tangible progress towards reducing the conflict or enhancing implementation of the peace agreement. The Government has prioritized efforts towards reconciliation through the national dialogue and has stated its intent to hold elections within the timeline outlined in the peace agreement. Opposition figures outside the country remain reluctant to engage in the national dialogue, arguing that the conditions are not ripe for genuine dialogue, and the modalities for including the opposition and “estranged groups” in the IGAD process are still being discussed. Meanwhile, the economic situation remains dire and continues to fuel public frustration, despite some Government efforts to put in place fiscal austerity measures.
National political developments
4. On 9 July, in a message to the nation on the occasion of the sixth anniversary of independence, the President, Salva Kiir, emphasized his Government’s efforts to promote peace and security, recalled his unilateral ceasefire declaration and issued a general amnesty. He stressed that the peace agreement and the ongoing national dialogue were the only way forward to attain peace. However, neither the ceasefire nor the peace agreement have been broadly respected or genuinely implemented.
5. The Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission convened plenary meetings on 12 July and 24 August. The Commission’s six technical working committees submitted status reports on progress in implementing each of the peace agreement’s thematic chapters to inform plenary discussions. In particular, committee members called on the Government to expedite the enactment of a bill providing amendments required to align the Transitional Constitution of 2011 with the peace agreement. The bill was submitted by the National Constitutional Amendment Committee to the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs on 13 April but is still under review. Meanwhile, the National Constitutional Amendment Committee started amending the relevant national security laws and conducted preliminary consultations on revisions to the Political Parties Act and the National Elections Act of 2012.
6. On 17 July, President Kiir replaced six members of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly linked to SPLM in Opposition under the former First Vice-President, Riek Machar, with new appointees allied to the faction of the First Vice-President Taban Deng Gai, further consolidating the latter’s presence in the Government. On 14 and 27 July, Riek Machar announced the appointment of new governors for 9 of the 21 federal states that his faction has proposed.
7. The National Dialogue Steering Committee conducted plenary meetings from 29 May to 22 June. On 8 June, the plenary created 15 subcommittees to conduct thematic and local-level consultations. Two special delegations reached out to opposition leaders residing outside the country, including in Khartoum and Nairobi. The Steering Committee Co-Chair led a special delegation to reach out to Riek Machar on 28 June in South Africa, but they were unable to meet with him. Delegations also travelled to Khartoum, Addis Ababa and Nairobi to continue their outreach. From 3 to 28 July, the Steering Committee conducted a seminar on international lessons learned in managing dialogues for its members, with technical support provided by the United Nations and other partners. On 28 July, the Steering Committee announced preparations to commence subnational consultations in September.
8. On 15 June, the members of the voluntary civil society task force on the implementation of the peace agreement issued a common position on the national dialogue process in which they expressed concern that the process could be compromised by limitations to the freedom of expression, the non-participation of opposition groups, continuing hostilities, the composition and partiality of the Steering Committee, failure to release political detainees, and lack of confidence in the parties to the conflict. The task force called for the national dialogue to focus on national concerns, such as vision, identity and unity, security sector and economic reforms, historical grievances, distribution of natural resources, and governance.
9. Given the continuing lack of women’s participation in the peace process, on 29 June a civil society group named the South Sudan Women’s Monthly Forum issued a gender gap analysis of the implementation of the peace agreement. It highlighted the fact that the 25 per cent quota for women’s participation in the executive had not been met and recommended that more women be appointed to key government positions.